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Poster: Minimalistcomposer1996 Date: Mar 14, 2013 2:31pm
Forum: moviesandfilms Subject: Mambo (1954) copyright status

VOID

This post was modified by Minimalistcomposer1996 on 2013-03-14 21:31:24

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Poster: larus Date: Sep 28, 2012 4:26am
Forum: moviesandfilms Subject: Re: Mambo (1954) copyright status

This film was only public domain in the United States until the end of 1995. It became eligible for copyright restoration on January 1st, 1996 under the GATT/Uruguay Rounds Agreements because:
-it was first published in Italy and was published in the United States more than 30 days (actually several months afterwards)
-it was still under copyright in Italy on January 1st, 1996
-it had non-American authors (the Italian screenwriters)

I was thinking of reusing some portions of Katherine Dunham's scenes from the film so I did my own search on the US Copyright Office's website. I didn't turn up a copyright for the film itself (...)
Copyright restoration for foreign works under the URAA/GATT agreement is automatic and does not require the copyright holder to file anything with the US Copyright Office, which is why your search didn't turn up anything.

Do you think it would be risky to reuse any portions of this film because there appear to copyrights in play?
The film is definitely under copyright, so you shouldn't reuse any portion of it.

And I guess a related question is: should it be removed from archive.org?
Interestingly enough, http://archive.org/details/mambo_ipod is an MPEG4 derived from another print located at http://archive.org/details/mambo. The latter was removed quite a while ago due to copyright issues, but for some reason the MPEG4 derivative was overlooked and is still around although it should be removed too.

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Poster: HektorT Date: Oct 13, 2012 4:02am
Forum: moviesandfilms Subject: Re: Mambo (1954) copyright status

>>The film is definitely under copyright, so you shouldn't reuse any portion of it<<

The criteria of GATT is not whether or not the film has American authors, it is whether or not the film has American copyright holders. Under Italian law the authors are rights holders. However, regarding the status of Mambo, since it is an American Production, I would assume the authors were all work for hire and therefore under us law are not rights holders. Italian courts might well see things differently, but it's not an Italian film.

This post was modified by HektorT on 2012-10-13 11:02:02

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Poster: larus Date: Oct 14, 2012 8:27am
Forum: moviesandfilms Subject: Re: Mambo (1954) copyright status

The criteria of GATT is not whether or not the film has American authors
US Copyright Office Circular 38b, page 2, states exactly the opposite:
At the time the work was created, at least one author (or rightholder in the case of a sound recording) must have
been a national or domiciliary of an eligible source country.

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Poster: HektorT Date: Oct 14, 2012 9:42am
Forum: moviesandfilms Subject: Re: Mambo (1954) copyright status

This issue has come up before, the US Circuit Court has ruled:

The circulars provided by the Copyright Office are intended simply to aid the public in understanding copyright law. See Whelan Associates, Inc. v. Jaslow Dental Laboratory, Inc., 797 F.2d 1222, 1242 n.38 (3d Cir. 1986) (‘Copyright Office circulars are not technical documents, but are “intended to present simple explanations of the law,” for lay persons.’).

In fact, the text you quote is accurate for most cases and is probably stated in the way it is because the assumption that a GATT eligible film is generally a foreign film is usually true. but I like to point to the example of the recent copyright violation case concerning the Italian film, La Dolce Vita. In which the judge ruled against the plaintiff because he said they hadn't proved they had any rights in the film and it wasn't even clear that the film was not in the Public Domain. That's for a very famous film that has many foreign authors.

I don't know where I got the information I posted above, but I'm pretty sure it's correct. Not wanting to do in-depth research, I refer you to my favorite resource,
here. Please notice the use of the phrase points to so even for an IP lawyer, nothing is definite, but it implies that for a US owned 'work' there is no GATT relief.

The following conditions point to the work being a non-U.S. work for copyright purposes: work made by a non-American company; by a resident of a country other than the U.S.; by Americans working on behalf of a non-U.S. company, individual or combination thereof; or commissioned by an entity which is not a citizen or company claiming the U.S. as its nation


also

Citizenship or sovereignty status, not location where a work is made, establishes nationality insofar as copyright status is concerned.

So my point is that in no way is it definite that the film is GATT eligible without some information that we probably can't easily get a hold of and in this case my personal conclusion would be that if it can be shown that the production company is American, then the film is PD.


This post was modified by HektorT on 2012-10-14 16:28:46

This post was modified by HektorT on 2012-10-14 16:42:21

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Poster: larus Date: Oct 14, 2012 10:17am
Forum: moviesandfilms Subject: Re: Mambo (1954) copyright status

Thanks for the additional information, especially the Dolce Vita case I hadn't heard about.

I also originally missed the fact that the film was an Italian-American production. Going by the fact that IMDB listed Carlo Ponti and Dino De Laurentiis, two Italian citizens, as the producers and Ponti-De Laurentiis Cinematografica as the production company, I had thought it was a pure Italian production. However, the American Film Institute entry does call the film an "American-Italian co-production" and list Paramount Pictures as a production company, along with the Ponti-De Laurentiis vehicle.
I don't have the feeling that Paramount's contribution was a major one because the original copyright registration doesn't emphasize it and only lists the Ponti-De Laurentiis vehicle as a production company:
MAMBO.
Produzione Ponti De Laurentiis. Rome.
Released in the U. S. by Paramount Pictures Corp.
94 min., sd., b&w, 35mm.
© Paramount Pictures Corp.; 13Nov54; LP4586.

When you called the film "an American production", I don't know if you meant a pure American production or whether a partial or even minor American contribution was sufficient to earn this label in your eyes.
Still, I don't know how much impact that partial American involvement has on the eligibility of the film for copyright restoration under URAA/GATT and haven't seen any resource dealing with such cases.

In this light, I withdraw my original statement stating the film "is definitely under copyright".
I still think there's a good chance it is under copyright, and consider the fact that it is not carried by public domain distributors Alpha Video and Mill Creek Entertainment as a red flag. But it's hard to know for sure until a similar case goes to court.

From now on, I'll steal a page from IP lawyers' books and use qualifiers such as points to, suggests that and so on.

Cheers!

This post was modified by larus on 2012-10-14 17:17:34

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Poster: HektorT Date: Oct 14, 2012 10:31am
Forum: moviesandfilms Subject: Re: Mambo (1954) copyright status

Yeah, some cases are really difficult to decipher. I agree with you on the red flag, but if Paramount owns the copyright, I wonder how much weight that would carry.

This post was modified by HektorT on 2012-10-14 17:31:45

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Poster: Minimalistcomposer1996 Date: Nov 1, 2012 8:04am
Forum: moviesandfilms Subject: Re: Mambo (1954) copyright status

I'm glad this example elicited such a good discussion - and thanks to both of you for your sincere responses.